Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Cadetia maideniana

Coastal Burr Orchid

Cadetia maideniana (Schltr.) Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 424 (1912).

Dendrobium maidenianum Schltr. in K. Schum. & Laut., Fl. Schutzgeb. Sudsee, Nachtrage 156 (1905); Dendrobium hispidum sensu F.Muell., Fragm. 7: 30 (1869), non A.Rich. (1832); Cadetia hispidula (F.Muell.) Dockrill, J. Orchidees 2: 92 (1961). Type: On trees in Rockingham’s Bay, J. Dallachy s.n. (holo MEL; iso K).

Cadetia taylori sensu Fitzg., Austral. orch. 2(3): [t. 7] (1888), non (F.Muell.) Schltr. (1912).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Bamaga to Townsville.

Altitude: 5-250 m.

Also occurs in Indonesia and New Guinea.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small clumps. Stems unbranched, erect to semi-erect, forming a tuft, widening from base to apex, slender, flattened, 4-7 cm x 0.1-0.2 cm, basal bract loosely sheathing stem. Leaf solitary on stem, erect to prostrate, apical, ovate to oblong, 4-6 cm x 1-1.5 cm, dark green, thin-textured, apex emarginate. Inflorescence single-flowered, from meristem at leaf base; pedicel 6-12 mm long, enclosed by browish papery bract. Flowers 1-2, produced in sporadic bursts, resupinate, porrect to erect, 5-6 mm across, white; ovary covered with fleshy hair-like tubercles, 0.5-1 mm long. Sepals and petals widely spreading, sepals broader than petals. Dorsal sepal free, ovate, 3 mm x 2 mm, incurved toward apex. Lateral sepals more or less quadrangular, 2.5 mm x 2.5 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals linear, 3.5 x 0.5 mm, apex acuminate. Labellum 3.5 mm x 2 mm, white with some purple staining, very obscurely 3-lobed; lateral lobes reduced to short teeth; midlobe inrolled, hairy; spur 0.6 mm long. Column 3 mm long, pubescent below stigma, 4 apical teeth extending above anther. Column foot 2 mm long. Capsules obconical, 12 mm long, covered with coarse soft hair-like tubercles, dehiscent.


Occurs most commonly in coastal lowlands, but also extends into the ranges at moderate altitudes. It grows on rocks and trees in rainforests, often on mossy surfaces in shady situations. The flowers last 2-3 days before self-pollinating.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: January-July.

More about Cadetia